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FEBRUARY 20, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  1

FEBRUARY 20, 2021

CANDID PERSPECTIVES

David Fagen: A Freedom Fighter in U.S.-Philippines War BOOK REVIEW

For The People, With The People: Developing Social Enterprises in the Philippines

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

Heart Check: February, Month of Love

HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

Workers Group Demand Timely Unemployment Insurance


2 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE FEBRUARY 20, 2021

EDITORIAL

Federal Government Should Be Doing More to Aid Small Businesses

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United States Chamber of Commerce Index survey on Small Businesses shows that their top priority for the Biden Administration is dealing with the coronavirus and the economy. Some two-thirds of small businesses nationally say they need more federal relief funds to help pay for employee salaries, operational costs and rent and utilities. Basically, small businesses are needing a financial bridge to survive the pandemic so that they can be around to help reenergize the economy when normalcy returns. The first Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, allocated $2.2 trillion in federal relief funding of which $659 billion was designated toward the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. The second relief package, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. It allocated $284 billion to go toward small businesses and to draw a second round of PPP loans. Currently, under the Biden administration, lawmakers are still debating the amount of the third coronavirus relief package. Time is of essence as many small businesses nationally report having about only three months in cash reserves and could close permanently within six months or a year if conditions remain the same. This is code red for small businesses that are the heart of the nation’s economy. What happened to the first round of PPP loans? While many business owners are grateful for the help, many also report that money has dried up, and yet, they are far from operating at full capacity.

First PPP was a failure The first round of PPP was a first run of assistance of its kind and magnitude. It was wrought with errors. Many small businesses did not access funds before it ran out. The rollout was tedious and complicated. The computer systems were overwhelmed and delayed. And most damaging, there were abuse in that large mega companies received PPP loans designed for small businesses. Companies that questionably had not been affected by the pandemic also were receiving loans. In the end, too many small businesses had closed down permanently because of the failures of the first round of PPP; and the most vulnerable businesses impacted by the pandemic like restaurants, retail and services did not get sufficient help. In this second round of PPP that will run through March 31, there must be greater government oversight. There cannot be a repeat of big corporations eating up the funds, or questionable businesses that haven’t been truly impacted by the pandemic tapping into valuable resources. This is crucial especially since this round of small business assistance is considerably less than the first one. Direct stimulus payment helps small businesses Included in the second coronavirus stimulus package was a $600 direct payment that should have been at the very least the same amount as the first one. Direct payment to taxpayers helps to circulate money and gives the economy a mini-boost. Any help at this time matters. During these times of austerity, that direct payment money is not going to rest in some savings account but be used to pay bills and buy essentials. (continue on page 3)

FROM THE PUBLISHER

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nyone who has run a small business in Hawaii will tell you how challenging it is, how difficult it is to meet monthly high rents and high taxes even in a healthy economy. So when the pandemic hit Hawaii’s shores, there was a collective fear and anxiety in our business community. Can we make it? – business owners have been asking themselves. In March last year, the Federal government came to the rescue by offering PPP loans, access to capital and loan forgiveness if certain requirements are met. But it has been a long time since that financial windfall. For our cover story this issue, associate editor Edwin Quinabo writes about the COVID Relief Law passed in Dec. 2020 that is the federal government’s second attempt (nine months later) to throw a lifeline to our small businesses, the heart of our nation’s economy. There are important updates, new loan assistance to certain business industries, and tax relief. If your business received a first PPP loan, the good news is that it’s possible to get a second one in this second drawing that will continue until March 31st. The cover story also looks at some concerns Hawaii businesses have like a possible unemployment insurance increase or commercial rent relief. Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii President Jeoffrey Cudiamat shares points of interest to Filipino businesses owners. HFC contributor and State Sen. Glenn Wakai, who chairs the EET committee and is a member of the powerful WAM committee, addresses commercial rent relief in a bill he introduced and other state initiatives that could bolster Hawaii’s economy. Two Hawaii surveys -- the Hawai’i Commercial Rent Survey and Pulse Survey – show there is still a rocky road ahead for local businesses in terms of low revenues. Chamber of Commerce Hawaii CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara estimates recovery could take as long as April 2022 and supports continued government assistance for small businesses. Let’s do our part and support small businesses when possible – buy their products and utilize their services. Speaking of valuable Federal aid, the Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is encouraging Hawaii residents to sign up for affordable comprehensive health insurance. Due to a special Executive Order initiated from President Joe Biden, there is a special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15. Get more details in our news write-up and visit HealthCare. gov to enroll. In this issue, read HFC contributor Rose Cruz Churma’s Book Review on “For the People, With the People, Developing Social Enterprises in the Philippines.” Rose writes, “This book is a compilation of stories of how ordinary people created extraordinary opportunities in empowering urban women, turning garbage into gold, and providing an income stream for the poor, or housing for the homeless.” Also relating to the Philippines, read Dr. Freddie Rabelas Obligacion’s article “Paradoxical Pairing of Poverty and Optimism in Metro-Manila’s Disadvantaged Communities.” It’s an interesting piece that looks at countries to see what socio-economic elements are found in their society that contribute to a sense of optimism and happiness. HFC columnist Elpidio Estioko writes “GOPs Retaining Cheney is Anti-Trump, on Greene It is Pro-Trump!” Be sure to read our other news and columns. Lastly, we’re pleased to report our online viewership keeps growing. We hope advertisers will take advantage of promoting their business in our newspaper, the most read and respected Filipino newspaper in Hawaii. A special thanks to HFC Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga for coordinating our website updates. Until next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!

Publisher & Executive Editor Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.

Publisher & Managing Editor

Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Associate Editors

Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo

Contributing Editor

Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.

Design

Junggoi Peralta

Photography Tim Llena

Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad Shalimar Pagulayan

Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga

Columnists

Carlota Hufana Ader Elpidio R. Estioko Emil Guillermo Melissa Martin, Ph.D. J.P. Orias Pacita Saludes Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq. Charlie Sonido, M.D. Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.

Contributing Writers

Clement Bautista Edna Bautista, Ed.D. Teresita Bernales, Ed.D. Sheryll Bonilla, Esq. Rose Churma Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D. Linda Dela Cruz Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand Amelia Jacang, M.D. Caroline Julian Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D. Federico Magdalena, Ph.D. Matthew Mettias Maita Milallos Paul Melvin Palalay, M.D. Renelaine Bontol-Pfister Seneca Moraleda-Puguan Mark Lester Ranchez Jay Valdez, Psy.D. Glenn Wakai Amado Yoro

Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia

Neighbor Island Correspondents: Big Island (Hilo and Kona) Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Millicent Wellington Maui Christine Sabado Big Island Distributors Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Distributors Amylou Aguinaldo Nestor Aguinaldo Maui Distributors

Cecille PirosRey Piros Molokai Distributor Maria Watanabe Oahu Distributors Yoshimasa Kaneko Jonathan Pagulayan

Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido

Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias


FEBRUARY 20, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  3

EDITORIAL

Have a Extra Special Lenten Season this Year

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way to talk to God. Fr. Martin gives an interesting take on this, saying “We pray because God desires to be in a relationship with us.” Often, in our prayers we are most often focused on the reasons for praying; in other words, we’re focused on the expected fruits of our prayers. What Fr. Martin explains the beauty of prayer is really the process of prayer itself. We get the first part – that we are talking with God. But the sacred part of it is the second part – that God is talking back cally, fasting during the Lent- to us through our thoughts, en season could be as simple insights, memories and conas giving up meat each Friday sciousness. during the 40 days. It could be How we determine when something more challenging God is talking back to us, Fr. Lent explained like giving up coffee or nicoMartin gives a few criteria, What is Lent? It’s a Cathtine or all sweets. The point is olic liturgical season that ocposed as questions: “Does it when we have the urge to give curs each Spring (sometimes make sense? Does it lead to an in to that indulgence we give beginning late winter like this increase in love and charity? up, we instead think of God. year), and lasts for 40 days in Does it fit with what I know As for prayer (back to about God? Is it a distraction? which Catholics fast and pray. It’s a time of penitence or feel- Fr. Martin’s new book), there Is it wish fulfillment? Is it iming sorrowful for our sins and are many different ways to portant?” faults. It’s a spiritual journey do it. Fr. Martin says if we Prayer also could not inwhich ultimate goal is to bring make it a daily practice (com- volve asking for anything at mon during Lenten season), all, but only for it to be a medus closer to God. Why do we fast or prac- it becomes transformative. itative time, a short session of tice abstinence? It’s a way of He says we can experiment clarity and peace as typically denying something we enjoy and discover which form of achieved when Catholics pray as a reminder that there is prayer works best to feed our the Holy Rosary. something more than physical soul and build intimacy with Prayer could be in stillour Creator. He says there is pleasure. Fasting is a way to ness, done fervently, or with remind us of the importance no secret formula for praying. tears or sung with joy. We Typically, when we think can direct prayers at others God is in our lives. It’s a form of spiritual discipline. Typi- of prayer, we believe it is our we don’t know or others we That blame should be square on the then GOP-con- believe whose Federal Government...from page 2) trolled Senate (Mitch McConnell) who refused to needs are dire. It’s arguable that direct payments should have urrently at number four on the New York Ti m e s   B e s t sellers list is Father James Martin’s new book “Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone.” The release of the bestselling author and Jesuit priest’s new book comes at a perfect time when millions of Filipino Catholics are practicing our cherished, ancient religious tradition of Lent. This year it started on February 17, Ash Wednesday, and ends on April 3, the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Since Catholicism took root in the Philippines in the early 16th Century, lent has been practiced among a majority of Filipinos. It’s a part of Filipino culture and Filipino identity passed on for generations. We may move through various stages in life from youth to parenthood to old-age; or go through careers or live in different residences – but all throughout we keep our faith, our religious identification as Catholics and our Church’s practices. Lent happens to be among the most important time of the year for Filipino Catholics. Over 80 % of Filipinos in the Philippines are Catholic, 65 percent of Filipino-Americans are Catholics. In Hawaii,

Filipinos comprise the largest ethnic group of Catholics. According to Pew Research Center’s 2015 Global Attitude survey, 87 percent of Filipinos consider religion to be very important in their lives. Of the 40 countries surveyed, the Philippines ranked 10th in religiosity. Pope Francis said during his historic visit to the Philippines in 2015: “Filipinos everywhere are known for their love of God, their fervent piety and their warm devotion to Our Lady and her rosary. This great heritage contains a powerful missionary potential.”

been given each month and that this could have saved the economy from ruin. In Canada and parts of Europe where the coronavirus had not experienced widespread outbreak, their citizens received thousands of dollars in direct payment in the span of months. With more frequent direct payments, even during lockdowns, consumerism would have continued. For example, restaurants could have only be serving take outs and people would be buying. Renters could have been paying their rent that also helps landlords. Businesses and jobs could have been spared. Even Americans who have not lost their jobs at this moment are reluctant to spend because of economic uncertainty and job insecurity. Regular direct payments would have resulted in greater confidence.

Gap between first and second stimulus package was too long To make matters worse, the months-long gap between the first round of aid (passed in March) up to the second (in December) was too long. This hurt small businesses and millions of struggling Americans.

take up the second package that the House passed. That second stimulus package sat there for months. During that ninth-months gap, certainly at least another round of small business aid and direct payment could have been passed in July.

Where Hawaii’s small businesses stand Two recent polls – the Pulse Survey and the Commercial Rent Survey – show the situation for small businesses in Hawaii is still dire. In the Pulse Survey, among more than 300 Chamber of Commerce Hawaii members, more than two in three Hawaii’s businesses are facing severe downturns in revenue, which in turn impacts jobs. In the Commercial Rent Survey, 65% of Hawaii businesses expect to close in 2021 without government help. The Federal government is the only branch of government that can assume debt and should be doing more. In the context of the national economy being at par with the Great Depression, it’s inexcusable that almost a year into the pandemic, there has been only two stimulus packages to date.

Prayer could be followed up by doing good deeds.

Special Lenten Season This Lenten season could be of extra significance, given all the uncertainties and suffering caused by the coronavirus pandemic – loss of a loved one, possibly our own health being compromised, or the loss of our job, business or financial security. The pandemic has brought about widespread isolation and higher rates of depression. In our journey during this Lenten season, perhaps we can arrive at a state of grace and acceptance of whatever we face that we have little to no control over. We can also draw strength and fortitude to carry on, to continue to do the best we can. We can commit to living a more balanced life that includes spirituality among the other areas of great importance in our lives. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.” In our journey during this Lenten season, perhaps we go to God through fasting and prayer to learn more about who we are, who God is, and our relationship with God.


4 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE FEBRUARY 20, 2021

COVER STORY

Feds Move to Save Small Businesses on the Brink of Closure By Edwin Quinabo

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mall business are running out of cash and running out of time. Nine months after the first Federal assistance to help small businesses, companies are only now tapping into the second round of PPP and aid that became available through the passage of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (COVID Relief Law passed on Dec. 2020). Federal help couldn’t come sooner. A US Chamber of Commerce Index survey found two-thirds of small business owners say more federal relief funds are needed. Two local Hawaii surveys – the Hawai’i Commercial Rent Survey and Pulse Survey – show isles small businesses are still struggling with low revenues. Even while a COVID-19 vaccine is Commercial Rent Survey Ryan Tanaka and state economist Eugene Tian of the State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) identified four industries most at risk in the latest Hawai’i Commercial Rent Survey. “Restaurant, retail, entertainment, and wholesale trade. These businesses employ a third of our [Hawaii] workforce; over 200,000 jobs. If half of them close, we could lose well over 100,000 jobs,” said Tanaka. The survey reveals over 85% of businesses saw a drop in revenue last year; and 80% expect the same this year. One consequence of the revenue dearth is businesses ability to make rent payments. During April to December last year, five in 10 businesses missed rent payments. Tanaka says the situation is getting worse. “Sixty-five percent of the businesses said without government-funded commercial

rolling out, the business community wants Americans to know that the economy remains dangerously sluggish. Chamber of Commerce Hawaii CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara said “businesses are facing a long road to recovery.” Some businesses already have elected to leave that road for good. It’s unclear how many businesses closed permanently, but data from the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization show there are a third fewer businesses open in Hawaii now than there were before the pandemic. Lawmakers know what’s at stake – small businesses, the heart of America’s economy, providing 30.2 million jobs and 63% of new jobs (half of the entire workforce) are at risk. They make up 50% of

rent relief, they do not expect to survive in 2021,” said Tanaka.

Commercial Rent Relief State Sen. Glenn Wakai, chair of the Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism Committee (EET) and member of the Senate money committee Ways and Means (WAM) introduced SB 946 that allocates $180 million of CARES money to provide commercial rent relief (no state funds to be used). Hawaii is estimated to receive from the latest federal stimulus $1.7 billion to $2.5 billion, from which the Commercial Rent Relief Program would get funded. Wakai introduced this bill on behalf of Tanaka and the Retail Merchants Association. The veteran lawmaker said money would be given out as grants to businesses to pay their leases for up to three months. “Government has been more foe than friend to local businesses. In our efforts

to reduce the impacts of COVID, we have forced businesses to shut their doors, or severely cut back their ability to generate revenues. If it’s government’s fault for hurting businesses, I believe it’s government’s responsibility to throw them a lifeline. We help individuals with unemployment benefits, we should help businesses with rent relief,” Wakai told the Filipino Chronicle. He added, “With so many businesses on the brink of closure, government cannot be ignoring their pleas for assistance. It is far easier to resuscitate a struggling company, rather than bring them back from the dead.” SB 946 passed through the Consumer Protection Committee on Feb 12 and now is at the Ways and Means Committee. On this bill passing through this session, he said “it will depend upon other legislative priorities. Government employees want to be paid, the health of our com-

the GDP or 4 trillion in annual revenues. As many as a quarter of small businesses could fail, according to the US Chamber of Commerce. Bills are piling up; employee salaries, operational costs, rent and utilities all must be paid even while the pandemic woes continue. Employers are holding on by a thread and say they could use all the help to get them through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

munity is of paramount concern, and education never has enough resources. After we feed other departments, if there are a few million dollars left, I am advocating it go to struggling businesses.”   The bill is described as a win-win situation for both the commercial renter who would get a boost to continue business and for the landlord who must make payments on their commercial loans.

Unemployment Insurance Increase Another point of interest closely watched by Hawaii’s business community is unemployment insurance. In the Pulse of Business Survey conducted by the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce Foundation with Omnitrak, businesses surveyed expressed concern over the cost of paying unemployment taxes and a possible increase in the unemployment tax schedule. The survey found three in five businesses say they cannot afford any increase in

unemployment insurance this year. Almost all businesses surveyed (94%) favor unemployment tax relief, with 72% of businesses strongly supporting such relief. “Our [Chamber of Commerce Hawaii] top priorities are pushing legislation that mitigates the huge unemployment insurance tax increase. If nothing is passed and signed by the Governor at the beginning of March, employers will face a significant tax bill that will lead to cut in positions and other resources. For example, on average, a business who is paying $600 per employee now will pay $2,600 per employee if nothing is passed,” Menor-McNamara told the Filipino Chronicle. Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii (FCCH) President Jeoffrey Cudiamat said one of the Chamber’s two main concerns is also the possibility of an unemployment insurance increase. He said companies cannot afford any increase in taxes, fees, or oth(continue on page 5)


FEBRUARY 20, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  5

COVER STORY (Feds Move....from page 4)

er business-related expenses. “For unemployment insurance, the cost (in my case for my own personal small business) will be more than 4 times more than we would normally pay in a fiscal quarter. This will amount to nearly $250,000 extra that we have to make just to pay for the increased unemployment insurance. This is one of the examples of how much of the burden is placed on corporations,” said Cudiamat, CEO & Principal Structural and Civil Engineer of Structural Hawaii, Inc. His other main concern is the possibility of a raise in the state’s minimum wage which he believes wouldn’t be a sound idea especially during this critical time. He said, “Small businesses are instrumental in the success towards a thriving economy, and the State should be trying to support them for this road to recovery rather than extract more funds from businesses.” The FCCH met with Gov. David Ige on Feb. 10 to discuss the progress of the deployment of vaccines in the state. Cudiamat encouraged the Governor to open up travel to Hawaii because of the impact the hospitality and tourism industry has on the jobs and livelihood of many Filipinos. “Everyone is hoping that the State and Counties will be easing up on restrictions, allowing businesses to open up fully very soon,” said Cudiamat.

Mana Program and other State initiatives Sen. Wakai said lawmakers are working on protocols for various business sectors so they can operate outside of the city’s blanket tiers. He said they are starting with restaurants. By the end of the month, the Department of Health will be rolling out its Mana Program. “We have worked with the restaurant association to come up with practices that will keep customers and employees safe. It’s a voluntary program. If a restaurant gets a ‘Mana certificate’ they can

remain open no matter what tier level Honolulu is in. We are trying to reward the good actors,” said Wakai. “Government’s blanket tier system is hurting too many businesses. Any mandated shut downs have to be based in data and evidence of spread.” On expanding the small business pool, Wakai is also working on a program to turn “Artisans into Entrepreneurs.” He said there are many talented artisans who don’t have a background in business. “The state should be helping them to turn their hobbies into fullfledged companies. I have a bill that takes the Made in Hawaii program from the Dept. of Agriculture and places it into DBEDT. “Made in Hawaii shouldn’t just be about exporting coffee and pineapples, that brand can be so much more.” One business owner said, “Business needs a lot of things – bridge loans, rent moratoriums, not taxing PPP (like the IRS), etc. – but most important is don’t make this crisis worse by adding to the cost of doing business. The private sector has had to cut jobs, but the State was yes then no on [State employee] furloughs. So only the private sector has to adjust?”

Other Findings in Pulse Survey More than two in three Hawaii’s businesses are facing severe downturns in revenue. On average businesses surveyed saw dips in revenue averaging 50%. Drops in revenue resulted in almost half of businesses (45%) reducing their workforce. This number would have been higher (63%), if businesses had not received federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. While most businesses surveyed were not directly involved in the visitor industry, business owners say the drop in visitor arrivals is the single most important factor impacting employee cutbacks. On the upside, nine in 10 businesses surveyed expect to still be in business the next six to 12 months, and even out

to the next two years. But recovery to pre-COVID operation is estimated to take over a year to 16 months, or up to April 2022.

COVID Relief Law (2nd Round of Federal Assistance) Highlights To avoid a repeat of large corporations and marginally effected companies from accessing limited funds, this second draw of the PPP program is much more targeted. U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley said, “The second draw PPP is really an opportunity for the hardest-hit small businesses to get another loan that can also be forgiven. If your business is only off 5%, you don’t qualify for the second PPP even if you qualified for the first.” The available funds for small businesses this time around ($284 billion) is also less than the first stimulus. Applications will be available through March 31 for both first-time and existing PPP borrowers. A possible third stimulus (first one under the Biden Administration) is still being deliberated in Congress. On changes found in the COVID Relief Law, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said, “Today’s guidance builds on the success of the program and adapts to the changing needs of small business owners by providing targeted relief and a simpler forgiveness process to ensure their path to recovery.” Below are a few of the updates: • Update to the SBA PPP enables businesses that have already received a PPP loan to apply for a second loan up to $2 million. New categories of expenses now qualify for forgiveness, and Congress extended PPP eligibility to additional types of businesses and nonprofits. As in the first PPP round, qualified small businesses can apply for zero-fee loans of up to $10 million to cover payroll and other operating expenses. They can seek forgiveness for PPP funds spent on eligible payroll and over-

“Government has been more foe than friend to local businesses. In our efforts to reduce the impacts of COVID, we have forced businesses to shut their doors, or severely cut back their ability to generate revenues. If it’s government’s fault for hurting businesses, I believe it’s government’s responsibility to throw them a lifeline. We help individuals with unemployment benefits, we should help businesses with rent relief. With so many businesses on the brink of closure, government cannot be ignoring their pleas for assistance. It is far easier to resuscitate a struggling company, rather than bring them back from the dead.”

— State Sen. Glenn Wakai head costs, such as rent, mortgage interest payments, and utility costs. Small businesses must spend at least 60 percent of the funds on payroll costs and no more than 40 percent on eligible overhead costs. • PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs. • PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures.

• Congress refreshed the EIDL emergency advance program and emergency grants for eligible small businesses. It expanded eligibility for SBA economic injury disaster loans (EIDLs). EIDLs are loans up to $2 million with interest rates of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits.  It also established an EIDL emergency grant program, which allows loan applicants to request an advance of up to $10,000 to keep employees on payroll, pay for sick leave, (continue on page 6)


6 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE FEBRUARY 20, 2021

OPINION

Paradoxical Pairing of Poverty and Optimism in Metro Manila’s Disadvantaged Communities By Dr. Freddie Rabelas Obligacion

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s there an evidence showing the coexistence of poverty and optimism, two seemingly incompatible precepts? Yes, there is and definitively so, according to findings of my study of blighted Estero de Aviles and Estero de Uli-uli communities along the Pasig River. Notwithstanding a dismally low economic well-being index score of 25% (100% corresponds to excellent economic well-being), Aviles and Uli-uli respondents manifested solid optimism, as evidenced by their high average optimism index score of 82% (a score of 100% implies perfect optimism). Such distinctly palpable optimism was significantly reinforced and enhanced by good health of family members (83% relative to 100% denoting excellent health), a low-pollution

environment (84% relative to 100% indicating the least pollution), and moderate level of violence in the community (69% relative to 100% suggesting least violence). Parenthetically, the economic well-being index is an original aggregate measure formulated by the writer to capture self-reported levels of household income, household savings, community sources of livelihood, transportation costs, and recreational expenses. On the other hand, the writer’s optimism index is a comprehensive parameter eliciting self-reported degrees of improvement in life satisfaction and quality of life, harmonious relationship with family members, cordiality with neighbors, the surroundings’ aesthetic appeal, environmental integrity, and the quality of landscaping in the community. At a 95% confidence level and a margin of error 6

points, my study demonstrated that poverty’s daily assault on body, mind, and spirit need not impede the formation of a hopeful and positive outlook in life. What could explain this intriguing paradox? Insights about the world’s happiest countries provide tantalizing clues. Recent Gallup surveys of countries’ well-being reveal that although some countries may have negative experiences, the impact of such experiences do not overshadow positive experiences. This generalization is supported by implications from Wall Street’s list of the world’s happiest nations which includes Costa Rica. Not a particularly wealthy country, Costa Rica boasts of a high life expectancy of 79.3, an army-free society, picturesque tourist destinations, and a strong philosophy of “la pura vida” or “life is good”. Another noteworthy case is that of Vietnam, which Wall Street named as Asia’s happiest country. Contributing to

this distinction are resilience, the Vietnamese’s genuine appreciation of what they have, quiet beaches, booming and vibrant cities. Fair in its selection, the Wall Street honor roll includes rich countries such as Norway holds the distinction of having the highest per capita GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of USD 53,000; Denmark, and Canada among others. It is, however, critical to consider that even in these top-tier countries, economic well-being is not the only determinant of life satisfaction. For instance, the Danes embody the philosophy of “hygge,” a complex mix of intimacy, community, and contentment generally felt within the context of family and friends. Along with Denmark, the world’s happiest societies not only pride themselves in

high average incomes. These societies also show a robust combination of high life expectancy, strong social support systems, generosity, the freedom to make life choices, and negligible corruption. Let it not be said, however, that material prosperity is unimportant because we indubitably need to satisfy, with dignity, our basic needs of nourishment, decent housing, health maintenance, education, and security. Let it be borne in mind, instead, that as Estero de Aviles and Uli-uli residents so eloquently communicated, a healthy, positive, and constructive outlook in life transcends material considerations and encompasses the realm of the spiritual, the ideational, and the intangibles of human existence which, ultimately, are far more deeply satisfying and permanent.

DR. FREDDIE RABELAS OBLIGACION, a sociology professor, is an alumnus of The Ohio State University-Columbus (Ph.D., MA Sociology; Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Delta) and the University of the Philippines-Diliman (MBA Honors, BS Psychology, magna cum laude).

(COVER STORY : Feds Move....from page 5)

or otherwise pay business obligations. • There is a new SBA grant program for live venues

impacted by the public health crisis. Eligible grant recipients include live venue operators, promoters or

theatrical producers, independent movie theatre operators, museum operators, and talent representatives. • There is refundable payroll tax credit for businesses and nonprofits that retain their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. • For small businesses that already have an SBA loan (such as a 7(a), 504, or microloan) or took one out within 6 months after the CARES Act was enacted, the SBA will pay all loan costs for borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for sixmonths.  • For government contractors, agencies will be able to modify terms and conditions of a contract and to reimburse contractors at a billing rate of up to 40 hours per week of any

paid leave, including sick leave.

Who can qualify for a second PPP loan? • Those who previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses; • Small businesses that have no more than 300 employees; and • Businesses that can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. On future Federal stimulus, Menor-McNamara said the recent Chamber Foundation survey found businesses would like to see more assistance programs made available, along with grants and rent and lease forgiveness. “We hope in the next round

of support, that Congress will provide States and Counties CARES monies to come up with creative programs to help stimulate the economy. For example, the Hawaii Restaurant Card and the Hawaii Business Pivot programs, as well as the Small Business Recovery and Relief Fund were stood up with monies from the first CARES package. “We also hope that Congress considers helping States, including Hawaii, whose Unemployment Insurance Fund was decimated due to the overnight surge in the unemployment rate, thus forcing many states to take out loans.” The business community is relying on federal, state, and county efforts to provide temporary relief. The race to get aid into the right hands will determine how robust or weak the national economy will be in the next two to three years.


FEBRUARY 20, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  7

WHAT’S UP, ATTORNEY?

Impeachment Moro Moro is Over, What Now? By Atty. Emmanuel S. Tipon

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he term “moro-moro” is a farce performed during town fiestas in the Philippines to entertain the people. It involves a sword fight between a Christian and a Moro (Muslim Filipino). After exchanging fighting words in verse (“Daanam ti spadak nga ka asa” [Prepare for my newly sharpened sword”]) and an artistic sword play, the moro always loses. In the real war between the Moros and the Christians, the Moros had frequently won. A number of people see the two impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump as “moro-moro.” The result is predictable – the impeachers always lose. There is an exchange of fighting words between the impeachers and defenders. Why keep staging moro-moros if the result is predictable? Primarily to entertain. See “The Moro-Moro: A Lot of Funny Things Happened in the Wake of the Muslim Wars.” A number of people believe the “moro-moro” is put up to “put down” moros who have been fighting against the Philippine government since it existed and who pillaged coastal towns during the Spanish regime. Why keep impeaching Trump if the result is predictable? The House approved the first impeachment resolution on December 18, 2019. The Senate acquitted Trump on February 5, 2020. The House approved the second impeachment resolution on January 13, 2021. The Senate acquitted Trump on February 13, 2021. Surely impeaching Trump is not to entertain. Certainly, it is not stupidity because the result is always the same – Trump will be acquitted. Stupidity has been defined as

“doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Trump’s second acquittal was by a 57-43 vote. Two thirds vote (67) was needed to find Trump guilty. Seven Republicans voted to convict Trump, their partymate. Romney led the “Unmagnificent 7.” Romney had an axe to grind against Trump who apparently titillated Romney with the Secretaryship of State, but eventually did not appoint him. But why should Trump have appointed Romney who attacked him during the 2016 primary reportedly calling Trump a “fraud” after Trump had supported Romney vs. Obama in 2012? I contributed four figures to Romney. I traveled to Los Angeles to personally meet him at the invitation of Atty. Shawn Steel, the former chairman of the California Republican Party. I had thought Romney was an honorable man.

Why Stage an Impeachment If the Result Was Predicted Or Predictable – Not Guilty Was the impeachment staged to put down Trump like the “moro moro” is staged to put down moros? The purpose of impeachment is to “remove from office” specified officers like the President. Constitution Art. II, Sec. 4. Trump cannot be impeached because he is no longer President. How can you remove a stain on clothing if the stain is no longer there? What is there to remove? The impeachment power was intended to give “Congress the ability to remove from power an unfit officer who might otherwise be doing damage to the public good.” A person who is no longer President has no “power” to “be doing damage to the public good.” The Senate did not have jurisdiction to hear an impeachment case involving a person who is no longer President. But the impeachers cite a

precedent involving a Secretary of War who resigned but was impeached any way but acquitted. Beware of citing “precedents.” The Supreme Court held in Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1856) that a “negro” slave was “property” and was not a citizen of the United States, and therefore was not entitled to sue in a court of the United States. That is a precedent. It has not been overruled by another Supreme Court case. Today, is it proper to cite Dred Scott as a precedent and prevent people of the “Negro” race (we are not certain of the “politically correct” term) from suing in federal court? The Senate by a majority vote ruled that it had jurisdiction anyway to hear the Trump impeachment case. So, what is the real reason for the impeachment of Donald Trump? Is it to prevent him from running for public office forever? Disqualification from public office is a consequence of a guilty verdict in impeachment proceedings. But why prevent Donald Trump from running for public office again? Did the impeachers expect Donald Trump to win if he were to run for President again? Do they fear him? How could the impeachers have Donald Trump disqualified from public office if they knew that they did not have the votes to find him guilty of an impeachable offense in the first place? Trump must first be found guilty and removed from office before the punishment of disqualification from public office may be imposed. To some, Trump might have been damaged by the impeachment charges. But to many, he looked stronger. Look at the spontaneous rally of well-wishers in Florida as he traveled from the golf course to his home on President’s Day after he was acquitted. He has still his core supporters with him – about 74 million. Only a handful appear to have jumped ship af-

ter they and their spouses had benefitted from Trump’s munificence. Did you see the rats jump from the Titanic after partaking of the sumptuous food of the first-class passengers? Trump is not unbeatable. But to beat him, his opponent has to do better than Trump ever did – rather than by disqualifying or cheating him.

Criminal Charges for Incitement of Insurrection Possible But Not Likely It is possible that criminal charges could be filed against Trump for incitement of insurrection. The United States Code provides: “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” 18 U.S. Code § 2383. Obtaining a conviction is not a slam dunk. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: (1) Trump had criminal intent to incite an insurrection when he told his supporters ‘‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore’’ but in the same breath said “everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” (2) Trump’s words incited (provoked unlawful behavior or urged someone to behave unlawfully) and was not an utterance protected by freedom of speech, and (3) Trump’s words were for the purpose of making other persons rebel against the government, that is, they were directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and likely to incite or produce such action. Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969). A Trump trial would last

many years - probably until the next presidential election. Trump would be in the news every day, getting lots of free publicity. Picking an impartial jury would be almost impossible. Who has not heard about Trump? Who does not have an opinion about him? Did the prospective juror vote for or against Trump and why did such person vote that way? Who has not heard about the words he said about “fight”? Who has not heard that he was acquitted by the Senate? The government could bring a hundred witnesses saying they were “incited.” Trump could bring thousands of witnesses saying they were not “incited.” At least one juror out of twelve could be a Trump supporter who would vote to acquit Trump. Without a unanimous vote there would be a mistrial because of a “hung jury.” Or Trump could be acquitted. That would make his supporters become even more ardent in their support for him. Independents could swing to him in sympathy for a victim of injustice and persecution. An acquittal would make Trump, if he were a candidate, formidable. Borrowing the quote from Mark Twain, it appears that reports of Trump’s “death are greatly exaggerated.” ATTY. TIPON has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. His current practice focuses on immigration law and appellate criminal defense. He has written books and legal articles for the world’s largest law book publishing company and writes legal articles for newspapers. Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with son Noel, the senior partner of the Bilecki & Tipon Law Firm. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon served as a U.S. Immigration Officer. He co-authored the best-seller “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Tel. (808) 800-7856. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: filamlaw@ yahoo.com. Websites: https://www. tiponlaw.com.

Opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Editorial Board.


8 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE FEBRUARY 20, 2021

OPEN FORUM

Jones Act Closed ‘Loophole’ that Could Help Hawaii, New Article Shows by Mark Coleman

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ONOLULU, Jan. 31, 2021 — There is an argument floating around that  if the  protectionist federal maritime law known as the Jones Act really were a problem for Hawaii, American companies would just ship their goods to the islands by way of Canada or Mexico.  Sad to say, it isn’t so. Nevertheless, that’s what a prominent state senator told us recently at the institute,  during a conversation in which he said he agrees with many of the institute’s positions, but not our support for Jones Act reform. Not long  afterward, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii research associate Jonathan Helton looked into the senator›s claim. The result is his new article, “Jones Act closed loophole that could help Hawaii.”  It  begins by explaining  why anyone would want to avoid using Jones Act ships to transport goods between U.S. ports in the first place. Basically, it’s because  the

Jones Act requires that all goods carried between U.S. ports be on U.S.-built and flagged ships that also are mostly owned and crewed by Americans. “This makes it significantly more expensive to transport goods to Hawaii,” Helton says, “not only because of how the act limits foreign competition, but also because ships built in the U.S. are at least four to five times more expensive than ships on the world market.” As the institute has noted repeatedly, these protectionist Jones Act measures add to the cost of shipping for virtually all Americans, while for Hawaii residents in particular, its strict regulations cost about $1.2 billion a year, or about $1,800 per average family, according to a 2020 institute study. With all due respect to the state senator, Helton found that, in fact, there was once such a loophole in America’s “coastwise” maritime laws, only it was the 1920 Jones Act that closed it. Before the days of the Jones Act, Helton writes,  American waterborne transport companies

still were protected from foreign competition, but savvy American companies doing business with Alaska figured out they could save money if they bypassed U.S. ports such as Seattle and instead sent their merchandise by rail to Canada, from where they could use foreign ships to carry their merchandise the rest of the way. This didn’t sit well with U.S. Sen. Wesley Jones, a Republican representing Washington state, who considered it an egregious loophole to America’s existing coastwise laws. Companies in his home state were losing money to foreign ships operating out of Canada’s ports, and he wanted to stop that. Thus, in the text of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, of which the Jones Act is Section 27, Jones included wording that would eliminate the workarounds. Today, the law’s wording is the same as it was in 1920: “A vessel may not provide any part of the transportation of merchandise by water, or by

land and water, between points in the United States to which the coastwise laws apply, either directly or via a foreign port.” According to Helton, “By land and water” is the critical part of the law.  “Trucks or railroads were now off-limits for U.S. businesses seeking a workaround. Anyone wanting to  ship goods between U.S. ports on foreign ships by just moving them across the border would have to bear the brunt of the Jones Act’s requirements” Meanwhile, Helton found there actually is still a so-called Jones Act loophole, one apparently not anticipated by Sen. Jones.  “It materialized shortly after the Jones Act’s passage,” Helton writes “and has been recognized policy [by U.S. Customs

and Border Protection] since at least 1938.” Basically, he says,  a company can use foreign ships to transport goods from one U.S. port to another, but only if at some point during the journey the goods are offloaded at a foreign port and substantially modified, after which they can continue their journey to the second U.S. port via a foreign vessel. Helton explains how this “manufacturing  loophole” has  helped Hawaii in the past, though  these days it isn’t one upon which U.S. industries can rely. In the end, Helton says, “Sen. Jones wanted to reserve domestic water transportation for U.S. ships. And he made sure that loopholes were hard to come by. Today, the best loophole we could wish for is significant Jones Act reform.”

MARK COLEMAN is managing editor and communications director for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii,  an independent nonprofit research organization that seeks to lower the cost of living, expand opportunities and foster prosperity for all in Hawaii.

Any opinions, advice, or statements contained in our Open Forum section are those of the author and/or the organization represented, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle Editorial Board.


FEBRUARY 20, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  9


10 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE FEBRUARY 20, 2021

AS I SEE IT

GOPs Retaining Cheney is Anti-Trump, on Greene It is Pro-Trump! Let us look at it this way: Cheney voted to impeach By Elpidio R. Estioko Trump, so the GOP met with the intention of disciplining ue to the divided her and strip her from her posiand self-centered tion as a ranking Republican in rule of former the House. What happened? They President Donald Trump in man- voted not to punish her, so aging the country their vote is a vote for what for the past four years, he creat- she did: impeaching Trump. ed a fractured government and Does this make sense? It was left a heavy mess for incoming anti-Trump! On the case of neophyte President Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, (R-Georgia), House of America. Lately, as the second im- Minority Leader Kevin Mcpeachment trial of former Carthy opted not to punish her. president Donald Trump is un- So, House Majority Leader folding in the Senate, the GOP Steny Hoyer said Wednesday came out with two opposing that the House would vote decisions that places their par- Thursday on whether to strip Greene of her committee asty in question! Contrary to opinions that signments after McCarthy retaining third ranking GOP failed to act against her. House Speaker Nancy PeHouse Rep. Liz Cheney instead of stripping her from losi (D-Calif.) in a statement her position, As I See It, is blasted McCarthy’s “cowardly not for party unity as claimed refusal to act” against Greene, but against it.The decision whom Pelosi described as an indirectly supports her vote “anti-Semite, a QAnon adherin Congress to impeach then ent and 9/11 Truther.” She listUS President Donald Trump. ed McCarthy’s party affiliation Surely, this is anti-Trump. To as “Q-CA” in an apparent refme, this is the implication of erence to the conspiracy theotheir latest decision on Cheney ry that Greene has supported in because they upheld her im- the past. So, their inaction on peachment vote in Congress Greene favored Trump and upby not reprimanding her.

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held his conspiracy theory that the election is stolen from him due to massive voter fraud. That is favoring the former president, right? Ultimately, the House stripped Greene of all her committee membership in the House. As to other GOP issues, the legal team of former President Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate resigned because they could not agree on how to defend Trump who wanted them to argue that he won the election that was stolen from him due to voter fraud rather than focusing on the constitutionality of the case. It appears that said lawyers resigned because they cannot in conscience (ethical consideration) accept the fact that there was voter fraud when in fact they perhaps knew there was none. I believe it is hard to defend somebody when the evidence is clear and massive, backed up by film footages and live testimonies. It is even harder when the client himself dictates on what to do, instead of the lawyers telling the client what to do. At first, I thought Trump will be defending himself because it would be hard to hire lawyers due to the situation of the case and what he wanted his lawyers to do. Suddenly, Trump became a “lawyer,” just like when during the pandemic, he suddenly became a “doctor” prescribing medicine to take. Well, a day after the team of lawyers resigned, Trump announced he hired a new team.

CNN reported that in Trump’s announcement of his new legal team, it is first sentence states: “45th President Donald J. Trump today announced that highly respected trial lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr., will head his impeachment defense legal team, bringing national profiles and significant trial experience in high-profile cases to the effort.” The question is: Will these new lawyers become rubber stamps of Trump considering that at the end of the day, he is the one dictating how his lawyers will defend him? Well, in fairness to the new team, they said they may not use the argument of voter fraud but on the constitutionality of the trial since Trump is no longer in office. Were they able to convince Trump to follow this route? During the first day of the trial on whether the trial is legal or constitutional because Trump is no longer the president, the House impeachment managers presented their case superbly that the Trump’s legal team performed poorly leading to a vote of 56–44 in favor of the trial being legal and constitutional even when Trump is no longer in office. There were six GOP senators who joined the Democrats in deciding the legality issue which paved the way for the continuance of the trial. Can they muster 17 GOPs to convict Trump? It was reported that President Joe Biden will be meeting with 10 GOP senators this week for a possible bipartisan COVID-19 legislation. If a bipartisan partnership is forged, these 10 senators may be convinced also to vote for impeaching Trump bringing to 16 senators siding with the Democrats. So, the Democrats need only one more to reach the 17 GOP senators (2/3 vote of the Senate) to side with them to convict Trump. If these senators, who were elected by their constituents and promised to uphold the

constitution, will change their minds, then the 17 senators needed to convict Trump will easily be reached… I think! Or not… because these senators will be needing Trump for their reelection in 2022. Throughout the duration of his conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from him, Trump has amassed millions of dollars of campaign funds. He can use these funds to support GOP candidates who believe in him seeking reelection in 2022. This is the reason perhaps why most of the GOP senators are sticking with him because they need the funds to run for their re-election. We need to accept the fact that election nowadays is expensive, and one needs a lot of money to win… that is why the campaign fund donation is so lucrative that rich people capitalize on it for quid pro quo and personal gains. There are 20 GOP senators, in 2022, who are due for reelection. Of the 20, 3 are not seeking reelection: Richard Burr, North Carolina; Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania; and Rob Portman, Ohio. In addition to the money consideration, I think the GOP senators are sticking with Trump because they are afraid to cross his path knowing him to be vindictive and capable of revenge. During his incumbency as president, cabinet members and other key officials who opposed him were fired… just like his favorite phrase in his television reality show The Apprentice: “You’re fired!” Even if he is no longer the president, he still has loyal followers who are willing to follow him and do what he wants them to do. He is, while reduced, still powerful. That is scary! These developments are dividing the GOP and are dictating the fate of the party! ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist here in the U.S. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com).


FEBRUARY 20, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  11

CANDID PERSPECTIVES

For Black History Month, Remember David Fagen By Emil Guillermo

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is.

istory buffs know that the “F” word and the “N” word once meant the same thing. Filipino that

David Fagen knew it. And he heard the fighting words. Enough to cross the line of the U.S. Army. Fagen was an African American born in Florida in 1875, at a time of continuing oppression and discrimination in the South. According to historian Howard Zinn, between 1889-1903 “on average, every week, two Negroes were lynched by mobs— hanged, burned, mutilated.” This is well after the Civil War, when the best America could do was the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, which made “separate but equal” the law and created what essentially would become an American caste system. Imagine the mindset of a young Fagen, who joined the segregated all-Black 24th Infantry as part of the “Buffalo Soldiers” sent to fight off Native Americans. Perhaps he was just following orders, but when that deed was done, Fagen and the others were sent to fight in the Spanish American War, first in Cuba, then to Asia. There they fought the war everyone wants you to forget. After a brief stop in San Francisco, Fagen shipped off to the Philippines, where things began to fall apart morally when the first gunshots were fired at Filipinos on Feb. 4, 1899. By then, Fagen had reached his existential WTF moment, and I don’t mean “what the Filipino?” But it might have been. Fagen questioned how any African American with integrity or empathy could fight a white man’s war and turn his gun on another person of color fighting for freedom.

Maybe his feelings began during his first campaign against Native Americans, but by the second go-round in the jungles of the Philippines, he could no longer fight for the U.S. imperial army. Fagen became one of 15 to 30 deserters among the four units of the all-Black “Buffalo Soldiers.” Fagen’s distinction: he was the only one known to have actually joined the Filipino freedom fighters of the U.S.-Philippine War. My friend, Prof. Dan Gonzales of San Francisco State’s College of Ethnic Studies, prefers that naming phrase to the more common (though not necessarilty correct) Philippine-American War because the U.S. was the aggressor on Philippine soil and caused more deaths. Among Filipino civilians alone, casualties as a result of the war are estimated to be around one million lives. Some call it borderline genocide, which is debatable. But there’s no doubt this was America’s imperial war, more deadly than our present-day coronavirus war.

The real insurrectionist The Filipino freedom fighters were the real “insurrectos,” or insurrectionists in American history; or as I see it, they were the insurrectionists based on truth. David Fagen had to be one of them when he saw the U.S. was there to subjugate and colonize the Philippines. It’s very different from the insurrectionists you saw in those news clips recently. The Capitol Hill gang of Jan. 6 were dubbed “insurrectionists” because they were urged to fight and pillage the Capitol based on lies—Trump’s lies of a stolen election. The vast majority of these Trump insurrectionists were white and racist. Once unleashed, they destroyed federal property, and threatened both Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi. In the end, when all was said and done, five people died.

It’s the reason the ex-president should have been impeached. No other impeachment in modern American history was as serious as this one. Not Nixon, Clinton, the First Trump. The unruly mob was there because of Trump. And when they were done, they were so proud they started taking selfies. No one was taking selfies in the Philippines. For the Filipinos, it was a war of passion, often fought with spears and knives to ward off an American desire for domination and conquest fueled by racism. Through letters written by African American soldiers and published in America by the Black ethnic press, such as the Boston Post, the Cleveland Gazette, and the American Citizen in Kansas City, Americans at home learned the truth about just how racist the war was in the Philippines. “I feel sorry for these people and all that have come under the control of the United States,“ wrote Patrick Mason, a sergeant in Fagen’s 24th Infantry, to the Cleveland Gazette. “The first thing in the morning is the “(N-word)”and the last thing at night is the “(N-word).” . . .You are right in your opinions. I must not say as much as I am a soldier.” This was the power of the ethnic press as described in E. San Juan Jr.’s essay on Fagen, that sources the Willard Gatewood book, “Smoked Yankees” and the Struggle for Empire: Letters From Negro Soldiers, 1898-1902. It makes the racist nature of the war clear and provides an understanding for Fagen’s defection. On Nov. 17, 1899, Fagen crossed the line and joined the guerrillas. Historians note that Fagen was so good as a Filipino freedom fighter, he was promoted to captain on Sept. 6, 1900. Some Filipinos even called him “General Fagen.” His notoriety grew as he clashed on the battlefield with the U.S.

military forces, specifically General Frederick Funston. Fagen’s exploits were covered by the New York Times. The war came to an official end in 1902 after Filipino rebel leaders like Emilio Aguinaldo surrendered beginning in the spring of 1901. But Fagen kept fighting and was never found. He was said to have married a Filipina and gone into hiding in the mountains of Nueva Ecija, on the island of Luzon.

Fagen’s head or a head fake? San Juan Jr. tells a story of Anastacio Bartolome, who in December 1901 brought a decomposed head said to be Fagen’s to Bongabong, Nueva Ecija. Bartolome produced other pieces of documentary evidence, like weapons or clothing, but the military didn’t consider it credible, nor did they give Bartolome a reward. San Juan suspects the items may have been stolen and the head could have been someone’s from the Aeta, a black aboriginal tribe. Bartolome may have also been a ruse to throw off Fagen’s pursuers. Nevertheless, it was the Black press that wrote an obit with a sympathetic point of view. On Dec. 14, 1901, The Indianapolis Freeman did not condemn Fagen as a traitor but painted the picture of a man “prompted by honest motives to help a weaker side, and one to which he felt allied by the ties that bind.” And that’s the oft-forgotten Filipino part of Black History Month, where soldiers like David Fagen found common ground among the darkskinned Asian freedom fighters in the mountain jungles of the Philippines. If you’ve never heard of this history, it’s not surprising. It’s one that runs counter to America’s white supremacist narrative. Jeannie Barroga’s play “Buffaloed” sheds some light on Fagen’s story and it was brought to Hawaii a few years ago. But for most people, the story remains obscured, though it’s a tale that

should be known by every Filipino American.

The birth of colonial mentality My father, who was born under the American flag in the Philippines a few weeks after the U.S.-Philippine war started, lived in the aftermath of it all, yet probably knew nothing about Fagen. That likely wasn’t taught in his colonized American school, where he learned English well enough to come to America in the 1920s as a colonized American national. All throughout the discrimination my father faced in the U.S. (anti-miscegenation, lack of opportunities in employment and housing), he found himself in the Black community. But he still was in the throes of colonial mentality. Generally, that’s known as an acceptance of the white narrative, as one goes along to get along in society. It’s a mindset that lingers to this day among many Filipino Americans, more than 4 million strong. It’s the reason I no longer participate in some Filipino American projects that too often discount truth for a more passive, glorified U.S. perspective. Wokeness is not an option for the latter-day colonial minded. They all could use some of the insight from David Fagen’s history. He challenged an immoral and imperialistic American war. And he knew right away his connection to other people of color fighting to be free— the Filipino. When you lack the nerve to break the bonds of colonial mentality, think of Fagen, who heard the “N” word referring to Filipinos, and knew better. It’s a lesson worth thinking about all the time, and not just during Black History Month. EMIL​ GUILLERMO​ is a veteran journalist and commentator. He was a member of the Honolulu Advertiser editorial board. Listen to him on Apple Podcasts. Twitter @ emilamok.


12 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE FEBRUARY 20, 2021

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS

Heart Check By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

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ebruary is Heart Month—literally and figuratively. Not only do we celebrate love, but we also remember the organ that beats and pumps blood throughout our body. The heart is the generator of the body. If the brain is the hard drive and the processor, the heart is the body’s power supply. It is not only an important part of the body, but also one of the most vital organs. If it stops beating, life ends. It’s been almost a year since the COVID-19 pandemic started. And we can conclude that it has been one of the most difficult challenges humanity has ever faced. We are in a deadly battle with an unseen enemy and it has

wounded us so badly in many areas, we are struggling to get up. This has caused anxiety, worry and fear in our hearts. According to researchers, the death rate of heart attack has doubled during the pandemic because many people avoid going to hospitals over the fear of contracting the virus while ignoring symptoms of heart problem. Aside from this, lifestyle changes and additional stress caused by COVID-19 increases the risk of heart ailments.  Indeed, the pandemic has caused a detrimental damage to our poor hearts—physically and emotionally. But we can do something about it. We must not allow COVID-19 to defeat us. We must strengthen our hearts and be victorious over this enemy.  First, we must make sure that our hearts are physically

healthy. Despite being locked down or restricted by the measures put in place to stop the spread of the virus, we must not neglect exercising and eating nutritious food. And at the first sign of a heart problem, please do not ignore but instead go to the hospital immediately. More importantly, let’s keep our hearts emotionally healthy. It’s undeniable that the many negative things happening around us do have damaging effects to our hearts. It may be difficult to always

keep our hearts checked and emotionally healthy, there are ways we can ensure our hearts are well. Find ways to relieve stress. Take a breath of fresh air. Walk, run, go outside or take a quick drive. You can also watch your favorite TV show. Feel free to cry. Laugh your heart out. Avoid isolation and find people whom we can share our emotions and feelings with, who are available and willing to listen to our concerns and fears. Find encouragement from other people. Know that we are not alone. We are all in this together. There are many moments during this pandemic that fear creeps in my heart. The uncertainty caused by this crisis brings worry and anxiety. It’s suffocating and crippling. There are nights I couldn’t sleep. There are days I cannot do anything. And in these moments, I check my heart and

I choose to do the most important thing I can think of... to pray. I release my fears and anxieties to the God who is in control of all things and I trade them for His peace, His hope, His joy and His grace. Speaking to Him and listening to His Word has kept me sane. Surrendering to Him my thoughts and emotions kept me going. Entrusting my heart to Him who holds it has brought me this far- not just getting by but thriving. Understanding His heart for me enables me to take care of my heart... physically and emotionally. My dear friends, it’s time to have a heart check. I pray that our hearts be released from fear and worry and instead be filled with love, joy, peace and hope as we continue to navigate life and walk this unpredictable and ever-changing world. Cheers to a physically and emotionally healthy heart! 

HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

Philippine Consulate Invites Filipino Organizations to Celebrate International Women’s Day

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very March 8, International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe to shed light on inspiring stories and striking issues surrounding women and their fight for more awareness about women’s rights. The global organization International Women’s Day (IWD) announced this year’s month-long campaign theme to be “Choose To Challenge.” “We can all choose to challenge and call our gender

bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievement,” said the IWD community. “Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world for all. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.” The Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu is inviting individuals and organizations to partner with them to join the “Choose To Challenge” campaign this Wom-

en’s Month. The partnership aims to highlight members of the Filipino community “who have risen up and “Chose To Challenge” the gender stereotypes in their fields” to inspire Fili-

pinas from all walks of life to rise above gender discrimination. For the whole month of March, the Consulate will feature outstanding Filipinas on their social media accounts. They are currently accepting articles about outstanding Filipinas to be featured on their accounts. The community is also encouraged to submit their photos with the caption: #ChooseToChallenge. The photo must feature a piece of paper with the individual or organization’s name and profession with the things they “Choose To Challenge.” Moreover, the Consulate is open for volunteers to help them with social media promotion in creating content and posters for their online campaigns. Volunteers will also help organize a “Choose to Challenge” Ideathon that will “challenge our students, student organizations and young professionals to come up with

solutions to gender-related issues that they face in schools or professions.” The ideathon event will be open to all regardless of gender. The winner of the event will receive gift certificates and mentorship opportunities from select women leaders in the community. “Together, we hope to highlight more the achievement of Filipinas in Hawaii, encourage the next generation to rise above gender and racial stereotypes and raise the profile of Filipinas in their chosen professions,” said Vice Consul Andrea Caymo in a press release. “And for all our stakeholders to work together to “Choose To Challenge” and create a more inclusive society for all regardless of their gender and sexual orientation.” For those interested to participate in the planning process of the Consulate’s Women’s Month campaign, please email Vice Consul Andrea Caymo at andrea.caymo@dfa.gov.ph. 


FEBRUARY 20, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  13

HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

Workers Group Calls for Improved Processing of Unemployment Insurance,Plans Rally on Feb. 24

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he Hawaii Workers Center plans a rally in front of the Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) offices at 10:15 then march to the State Capitol for another rally from 11 am to 12:30 pm on Feb. 24, 2021 to raise awareness on workers’ rights and fixing the unemployment insurance (UI) system. The group is calling on DLIR Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio to meet with Hawaii Workers Center representatives, supporters and un-

employed workers at the rally at 830 Punchbowl Street. “We wish to suggest and discuss some positive measures which DLIR could adopt which would aid in getting assistance to thousands of unemployed workers,” said Rev. Sam Domingo and John Witeck of the Hawaii Workers Center, in a press release. “We have been deeply concerned with your department’s ineffective response to the unemployment crisis and the needs of thousands of un-

Federal Unemployment Compensation Extended restored the PEUC proUntil April 10 fully gram that so many workers

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he Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) has started rolling out its program with an 11week extension which was issued by the Continued Assistance Act. Claimants will have additional 11 weeks of benefits payable for the week ending January 2 through March 13, with a phaseout until April 10. The payment will also include the additional $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation weekly benefit. “We’re pleased to have

in our state are depending on. These are vital programs that have helped Hawaii residents to provide for their families as we continue to navigate COVID-19,” said Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, Director of Hawaii Department of Labor & Industrial Relations. “While this is a huge step forward, we know there’s still more work to do to ensure everyone receives the benefits they are entitled to.” For more detailed information and FAQs, visit labor.hawaii.gov/blog/main/ cares-act-extension-update-2-11-21. 

Hawaii Women Leaders Announces Monthly are done online to Webinars meetings prevent the spread of the vi-

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he Hawaii Women Leaders Organization (HWL) had a yearly kickoff meeting last February 18 featuring top women leaders from different professional fields such as Dionicia Lagapa of Kaiser Foundation Hospital and Nadia Assaf of Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii. The HWL is a by-membership organization that includes a yearly kickoff, monthly web meetings and access to key articles, book summaries and mentoring resources. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the kickoff and

rus. However, all meetings will be recorded for the members’ convenience. The next monthly web meeting will be on March 8 featuring top women leaders from Southwest Airlines, Vanderbilt, Microsoft and many more. The other dates include April 12, May 10, June 14, July 12, August 9, September 16, October 11, November 15 and December 6. All dates are subject to change. The HWL membership lasts for a full year and costs $199. To register, please visit hiwomenleaders.org. 

employed. Now it seems that replacing the current, outmoded computer mainframe will take 18 months! This leaves thousands of unemployed workers and their families to suffer great hardships with little hope of receiving timely and essential UI assistance.” Since the spike of unemployment claims in the State of Hawaii and to stop the spread of COVID-19, the agency has resorted mostly to online and automated phone contacts. Unemployed claimants have reported difficulty navigating the remote-based systems and find it complex. To make matters worse, unemployed claimants say the system is taking too long to process to get their unemployment benefits. DLIR is implementing a new system under vendor Solid State Operations, Inc. that would handle spikes in claims faster. But that transition is expected to take 18 months and there is no plans toward reopening in-per-

son customer service. Hawaii Workers Center points to other states like Michigan and Nevada with high numbers of unemployment like Hawaii where claimants get in-person help with the installation of plexiglass dividers and shields. They believe the same could be done with DLIR to improve service and process claims for Hawaii’s unemployed workers. “Many jobless workers lack computers, wi-fi, and/or computer skills, and need assistance and language interpreters. There is a great need to provide safe, direct in-person services as banks, credit unions, grocery stores, pharmacies and other retailers have done,” said Domingo and Witeck. According to federal figures for December, Hawaii tied another tourism-dependent state, Nevada, for the most unemployment, with a rate of 9.3%. The U.S. jobless rate was 6.7%. HWC is a non-profit re-

source and organizing center serving unemployed and lowwage workers and immigrants. The group in this rally is joined by a new Coalition to Defend and Respect Hawai’i’s Workers that include UNITE/ HERE Local 5, Living Wage Hawaii, Hawai’i Nurses Association, HAPA, Young Progressives Demanding Action, Pono Hawaii Initiative, Anakbayan Hawaii, Hawai’i Scholars for Education & Social Justice, Academic Labor United, Hawaii People’s Fund, and the Hawai’i Workers Center. Other organizations are considering joining the Coalition. The Coalition has united around several key issues, including defending and advancing workers’ rights; fixing the broken Unemployment Insurance (UI) system (opening up DLIR offices to provide safe, direct, in-person services and timely benefits); the safe return and fair recall of workers to their former jobs; raising the minimum wage; exempting unemployed workers’ benefits from state taxation; banning forced overtime for health care workers; increasing state funding for public education; and reducing inequality and poverty.

Hawaii Residents Encouraged to Apply for Health Insurance During Biden’s Special Enrollment Period

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he Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is encouraging residents to visit HealthCare.gov to enroll in a health insurance, following President Joe Biden’s Executive Order of Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for Health Insurance Marketplace coverage. “As we continue to tackle this pandemic, it is more

critical than ever to ensure that Hawaii’s uninsured and underinsured have access to affordable healthcare,” said Insurance Commissioner Colin Hayashida. “This special enrollment period allows individuals and families a chance to get comprehensive health insurance coverage if they qualify.” From February 15 to

May 15, SEP will be available on the website in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents submitting a new application or updating an existing application can access SEP through HealthCare.gov or by calling the Marketplace call center at (800) 318-2596. HealthCare.gov is a federal service that helps people shop and enroll for a health insurance.


14 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE FEBRUARY 20, 2021

BOOK REVIEW

FOR THE PEOPLE, WITH THE PEOPLE: Developing Social Enterprises in the Philippines By Rose Cruz Churma

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ast February 4, a Hawaii-based non-profit, the Hawaii-Philippines Business and Economic Council, hosted a talk-story on social entrepreneurship. One of the panelists was Al Valenciano of Balay ni Atong.  This center’s mission is to revive the inabel, the traditional textiles of the Ilocos by working closely with the weavers in efforts to sustain the weaving tradition. It struck a nerve with the audience—it showed the power of the collective. As the editor of this book notes in her preface, “…how bringing together businesspeople, development workers and community leaders can can create much more impact than simply doling out money.”   This book is a compilation of stories of how ordinary people created extraordinary opportunities in empowering urban women, turning garbage into gold, and providing an income stream for the poor, or housing for the homeless. The publication examines Filipino social enterprise that have helped change the country, and

eight of these enterprises are featured in this book. The first enterprise featured is Kamay Krafts who focuses on empowering women. This cooperative believes that women are responsible and reliable and have the capacity to contribute to the income of their families. They also adhere to the philosophy of fair trade, which means that just compensation should be provided to all its workers even if it results in a more expensive product. One of their products that sold internationally are fashionable bags made from discarded juice packets that they have scavenged from garbage dumps like the Payatas.   A similar enterprise is Rags2Riches, formed by a partnership of students, alumni and professors of Ateneo, De La Salle and the University of the Philippines with women of Payatas. It was a project to improve the livelihood of the women and eliminate social injustice. Rags2Riches, as its founders pointed out, is not a charitable organization but a business enterprise. The women made rugs from discarded scraps of clothing, but middlemen and lack of design sense had kept their income stream low to non-existent.

The breakthrough of Rags2Riches came with the involvement of the multi-awarded designer Rajo Laurel who rolled one of the rugs and said, “this is not a rug but a wine holder.” Instead of creating items that people step on or wipe their feet with the rugs metamorphosed into bags, laptop covers, yoga mats and other designer items. By designing it well and giving value to the aesthetic touch, the items can be priced well that increased income for the women. The sari-sari store is a familiar icon in the Philippines in

both urban and rural settings. There are more than 700,000 sari-sari stores across the Philippines, sustaining low-income Filipino families. But this micro-business is not dependable and are faced with inefficiency and low profitability. Most sari-sari store owners have problems maintaining an inventory and accessing transport of the goods, and oftentimes have limited capital— thus the creation of Hapinoy. The enterprise is a mutually beneficial partnership of local manufacturers with sari sari store owners. It is a chain of sari sari stores that are owned and managed by micro-financed borrowers. The program provides a comprehensive package of benefits to women micro-entrepreneurs through access to business loans, partnerships with manufacturers, and training in capacity building, character and values formation, as well as improvements of the physical space of the sari-sari store. A vital feature of Hapi-

noy is the manufacturers who provide the stores with the best possible price, and thus increasing the sari-sari store’s profit margins. At the same time, market reach of the manufacturers are expanded—a win-win situation for both. The other social enterprises featured are Conti’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative, a source of low interest financing for its employees; Gawad Kalinga who built homes all over the country; Pathways to Higher Education helps less privileged high school students get a college degree; Venture for Fundraising, an organization that helps non-profits learn how to raise funds; and Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), an innovative leader in the micro-finance industry. ROSE CRUZ CHURMA is a former President of the FilCom Center. She is also the co-owner of Kalamansi Books and Things, an online bookstore promoting works by Filipino Americans. For inquiries, email her at kalamansibook@gmail.com.

MAINLAND NEWS

The First 2020 Census Results Expected in April

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he first results from the 2020 Census are expected to be released on April 30, according to Acting Director Dr. Ron Jarmin. The first results will include the population counts of the nation, states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The state population counts will determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. Breakdowns of the results by race or ethnicity will be included in a future data release. The 2020 Census results were expected by December 31, 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census schedule was delayed. Jarmin “affirmed” that the Bureau of Census’ goal is to ensure a complete and accurate census, according to the press release.

Moreover, the 2020 Census results will include analyses from outside experts. Jarmin explained that these efforts will provide additional confidence on the 2020 Census results. “The issues we’ve uncovered are varied in their underlying cause, their magnitude, and the complexity of their remedies,” Jarmin said on a Census website blog post. “Coming soon will be more detailed information about these issues and how we’re addressing them from experts far more qualified to comment on them than I.” The first results from the 2020 Census are expected to be released on April 30, according to Acting Director Dr. Ron Jarmin. The first results will include the population counts of the nation, states, the District

of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The state population counts will determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. Breakdowns of the results by race or ethnicity will be included in a future data release. The 2020 Census results were expected by December 31, 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Census schedule was delayed. Jarmin “affirmed” that the Bureau of Census’ goal is to ensure a complete and accurate census, according to the press release. Moreover, the 2020 Census results will include analyses from outside experts. Jarmin explained that these efforts will provide additional confidence on the 2020 Census results. “The issues we’ve uncovered are varied in their underlying cause, their magnitude, and (continue on page 15)


FEBRUARY 20, 2021  HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE  15

COMMUNITY CALENDAR PINOY FOOD STORIES: EVOLUTION OF PHILIPPINE CUISINE | The Mama Sita Foundation; Uni-

versity of Hawaii at Manoa Center for Philippine Studies; Consulate General in Honolulu | February 12 to March 12, 2021 (Fridays, 3:00 - 5:30PM) and

February 13 to March 13, 2021 (Saturdays, 9:00 - 11:30AM) | A free online short course hosted on Zoom. Link will be sent 48 hours before the session day. Contact Pia Arboleda, pca62@hawaii.edu and/ or mkpsauhm@gmail.com for more details.

Have your organization’s events listed in our community calendar. It’s recommended to submit press releases a month in advance of your organization’s event. Send information to filipinochronicle@gmail.com.

MAINLAND NEWS

New Bill to Protect Journalist and Press foreign policy.” Freedom Announced With the Global Press Freedom

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n support of press freedom and protecting journalists. the Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced on February 4 the Global Press Freedom Act. The act aims to establish an Ambassador-at-Large for press freedom and a train Foreign Service Officers on how they can promote media independence and protect foreign journalists. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) recently joined the Senate

Foreign Relations Committee and expresses the bill’s “commitment to a free press at home and abroad.” “Our democracy depends on the ability of journalists to ask tough questions, dig for the truth, and report what they find — without fear of violence or persecution,” said Schatz. “Freedom of the press is a priority in our founding documents, so it must be a cornerstone of our

Act, the Ambassador-at-Large will engage with foreign governments and organizations to draw attention to violations of press freedom and journalist safety and ensure the creation of a “Free Expression” section in each country’s Country Report on Human Rights Practices. Moreover, the trained Foreign Service Officers will be assisting in the protection of journalists and press freedom while stationed overseas.

HAWAII-FILIPINO NEWS

(The First 2020....from page 14)

the complexity of their remedies,” Jarmin said on a Census website blog post. “Coming soon will be more detailed information about these issues and how we’re addressing them from experts far more qualified to comment on them than I.” The Census press release also reminded that the 2020 Census data will not include information on citizenship or immigration status due to the President Biden’s Executive Order signed last month. “The Census Bureau stopped all work on immigration status of the U.S. population regarding the 2020 Census on January 12, 2021,” the Census stated on the press release. For more 2020 Census updates, visit Census. gov.  (Sagot sa Krosword Blg. 2 | February 6, 2021)

Councilmember Radiant Cordero Appointed to National Federal Advocacy Committee on Transcities and towns before Congress. portation and Infrastructure “I am humbled by the oppor-

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onolulu City District 7 Councilmember Radiant Cordero has been appointed to a one-year term in the National League of Cities Transportation and Infrastructure Services Federal Advocacy Committee.

Cordero will provide strategic direction and guidance for NLC’s federal advocacy and policy priorities. As a committee member, she will play a key role in shaping NLC’s policy positions and advocating on behalf of America’s

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